Have you ever thought about how much all those old electric-battery exit signs buzzing away 24/7 are costing you? It might be more than you think.
Mandated by the National Construction Code and State Legislation, exit signs are an essential fixture in buildings across Australia. However, the selection of the wrong exit sign technology will inadvertently bind your business to concealed expenses over time.
Old-tech battery powered exit signs operate continuously, consuming electricity and generating emissions around the clock. When the mains power falters in an emergency, blackout or brownout, these signs rely on batteries to remain visible for 90 minutes. But the battery technology is often the main point of failure, leading to unreliability and frequent replacements.
You may be lucky to get 3 to 5 years life from old-tech electric-battery exit signs. The frequent 6-monthly electrical testing is because of the inherent unreliability of the technology. And if you have larger facilities employing hundreds or thousands of units then the costs will add up.
Implementing a monitoring system adds another layer of expense, requiring costly network-capable electric exit signs along with the installation of networking infrastructure and annual software licensing fees. This system alerts building managers to malfunctioning signs, leading to their faster replacement with similarly expensive network-compatible units.
How big is the problem?
The prevalence of old-tech battery powered exit signs is widespread, with two to four signs per floor in most buildings, and possibly countless more in various commercial, industrial, government, and non-residential buildings nationwide. Collectively they generate huge amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, consume significant electricity and produce high volumes of eWaste and plastic waste as signs fail. Upon failure, the industry norm is to replace the whole sign, generating kilograms of plastic waste and eWaste. Less than 10% is recycled.
The cumulative costs of using battery powered exit signs span beyond financial considerations, encompassing environmental impacts such as excessive emissions, battery usage, and the disposal of plastic, electronic components, and batteries. You can estimate the costs of your exit sign fleet on your business, using our online calculator.
What can I do about it?
Fortunately, there are alternate options from Smarterlite’s range of Environmental Exit Signs. Unlike their electric-battery counterparts, these innovative signs operate with no or very low emissions from their operation, and without the need for frequent replacements. Smarterlite products utilise a photoluminescent wafer to store light instead of electricity, emitting light when required.
In areas with limited light, the Hybrid LED Exit Sign employs a highly efficient LED to charge the photoluminescent wafer, consuming minimal electricity compared to old-tech battery powered exit signs. These alternatives to old-tech electric-battery exit signs result in an average 70 – 90% saving in exit sign power usage, with approximately 50 to 100kg of carbon saved per exit sign, per year, depending on the size and age of the sign being replaced.
Are there programs to help change our signs?
In Victoria and New South Wales, the Smarterlite 24M Safety Path Hyperion Exit Sign is an approved product in the Victorian Energy Upgrade Program and the NSW Energy Saving Scheme. Conditions apply, including having the exit signs installed by an authorised program installer.
In South Australia, our 23M Safety Path Hyperion Exit Sign is eligible under the Retailer Energy Productivity Scheme (REPS). Speak to your energy retailer about support for converting your fleet of Exit Signs to Smarterlite technology.
Need more information?
For technical support or inquiries about how much your exit signs are costing you and how to reduce those costs, please Contact Us. Smarterlite Environmental Exit Signs, including hybrid exit signs with integrated light sources, comply with the National Construction Code of Australia and applicable Australian Standards such as AS3000, the ‘Wiring Rules’. Make the switch and order your Environmental Exit Signs online now.
Smarterlite is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia, National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) and Photoluminescent Lighting Council of Australia.